Considering getting the Tamron 15-30 next


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Jun 17, 2013
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Originally I was thinking about the Tamron 24-70 VC. I do want an f2.8 do-it-all walk-around lens.

I haven't seen many people use the Tamron 15-30 f2.8 at 30mm and f2.8. It's big, it's heavy, but I love ultrawide for walk-arounds. The performance at 30mm and f2.8 still seems very good. I am interested in the lens for the entire range, from 15mm to 30mm.

I really just have two priorities in terms of what I want to add to my photography bag: An all-around f2.8 zoom lens (24-70), and a wide lens.

I am envisioning two practical situations here:
1) I carry around the Tamron 15-30 and one other prime (50 or 85), and I switch lenses as needed. The downside is filters won't be easy, and I will be stuck switching lenses still.
2) I carry around just the 24-70 f2.8 and don't switch lenses, but I don't get ultrawide. Also, quality would be lower, but it's convenient.

Will I use ultrawide? Yes. Do I need ultrawide? No. Is my budget $1350 Canadian + tax? I'm far from rich, the purchase would forever be a secret.

Btw the Canadian dollar is dipping, so I figure any purchase is either now or in ~1.5+ years from now (I foresee lens prices going up. I read a forecast that the dollar could dip to 60 cents to the American $1).
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This is an upgraded 14-24mm 2.8. If i ever go full frame it would be so i could buy this lens. The VC is something that is overlooked, but it will give you that much more stability when you're on the go in less forgiving lighting situations.
I use my 150-600 most of the time but I can tell you that since I bought the 15-30 my 24-120 has not come out of the bag.
You both have provided some excellent arguments in favor of me emptying my bank account.

I didn't go and impulse buy the lens today but I'm thinking on it this weekend and possibly going for it on Monday.
I wouldn't consider the 15-30 a walkaround lens at all. If I had to only carry one lens all day it'd be the 24-70 or the 24-120 (which I just bought). 24 is decently wide and then you have a more useable range that'll cover a variety of useful focal lengths. However, that 15-30 is amazing! I'm selling my 16-28 soon to buy one
The choice between the 15-30 & 24-70 is not really a choice if i can be frank, they are lenses meant for different purposes. On the "holy trinity" lenses, these two would fall into the first and second part of the trinity.
The choice between the 15-30 & 24-70 is not really a choice if i can be frank, they are lenses meant for different purposes. On the "holy trinity" lenses, these two would fall into the first and second part of the trinity.

The reason why it is a choice for me is because of budget, and again getting back at the two options:

1) Use the 15-30 + a prime lens. I get ultrawide, but I have a heavier setup and I have to switch lenses.
2) Use just a 24-70. I don't miss shots, I have convenience, no switching lenses. No 15-23mm.

In an ideal world, I would have a 15-30 and a 24-70. I'm trying to purchase based on what will give me the best bang for my buck based on my usage. I will be missing something either way.
24-70 would probably be the most versatile and best bang if 24mm or 16mm in terms of crop equivalent is wide enough for you. That's what your choice really comes down to.
It's difficult to make any sense of what it is you really need, Paul. I'm not quite getting the 15-30mm and f/2.8 concept and're not mentioning much that's specific as to why you want f/2.8 and that range, 15-30mm...woukld the Nikon 16-35 f/4 VR be an option? What,exactly makes that Tamron the best option?

As far as the "I have to switch lenses" issue...yeah...everybody does if they want maximum quality, or maximum lens performance levels...again...f/2.8 sucks on most zoom lenses compared to what the lens can do at f/5.6...f/2.8 shows almost every single bad trait in any zoom lens, and for some kinds of shooting the bad traits (corner softening, color fringing, etc.etc) mean that the better lens really might be one with a wider range.....and a variable max aperture....

I dunno...the best bang for the buck is hard to calculate when you let things like "f/2.8" rise to the top of the lens selection criteria list, especially for landscape use and things like that. and almost no matter what zoom or zoom pair one picks, they will be, "Missing something," but they will also gain something, like lower cost, or lower weight, or greater convenience, and so on.

I dunno...I try to get to f/6.3 or f/7.1 with a lot of lenses, and f/5.6 is a wide aperture for me, so I don;t see much lens performance difference between a $99 plastic Nikkor like a 28-80 AF-D and a $1899 24-70....the small aperture and the depth of field benefits it brings (for me) offset the diffraction, which almost equalizes any lens, cheap or expensive.
To me larger apertures make more sense on wider lenses because of the increase in the focus plane. You either deal with the smaller focus plane on 2.8 or you deal with the noise when stopping down to 5.6. Either way you lose detail, but in the case of the wider aperture you have more control over what aperture you want to shoot since a speedlight is out of the question. Plus modern lenses like the 15-30 aren't like the older lenses, these things have pretty remarkable picture quality wide open.

check out this comparison of the 14-24 & 15-30: Prepare to be impressed: Tamron 15-30 F2.8 vs. Nikon 14-24 F2.8
I keep on trying to rephrase this and end up with too many words.

What I currently want for my own uses: Every prime in existence, a 24-70 f2.8, and an ultrawide angle lens.
What I currently need: I need a wide angle (approx 24mm) that doesn't ridiculously distort, and is fast enough for most wide angle purposes (this includes starscape photography and evening walk-arounds). I am not looking to pick up a prime lens that fits only that use.
What I currently want: An ultra-wide angle lens. Also, a normal range zoom lens that shoots at f2.8.
Why I want an ultra-wide lens: Because I do like shooting ultrawide. I even like shooting ultrawide when doing walk-arounds. I think ultrawide is a really really fun focal length.
Why I want f2.8 on both ultrawide and normal zoom range: When using ultrawide, I like having the flexibility. The 15-30 offers great performance for night landscape photography including stars. It offers a quick aperture for someone who enjoys shooting in the evening at ultrawide. The sharpness is quite good. And, at 30mm and f2.8, that overlaps with a 35mm prime's use in some ways. I have shot with normal range zooms before, and I find slow aperture equals disappointment for me. To me, the ability to choose aperture is nearly as important as the ability to choose the focal length. Aperture controls the light that comes in, and the depth of field at the given focal length. I have found with slow zoom lenses, I am switching out for my primes too much. I am not sure why I need to explain that though, that is essentially one excellent reason to use a 24-70 f2.8.

Anyways I wanted to hear from those who own the 15-30 Tamron how they've liked it, any regrets about the lens, etc. I have been wanting the lens since it has come out, and I have been needing a wide for a long time, but I have been waiting and thinking for a long while.
I have the Tamron 15-30mm and love it. I sold a Nikon 14-24mm to buy it and could not be happier. But I do think a 24-70mm would be far more useful if I had to chose one. If I REALLY needed to get something wider I'd just stitch shots together, if possible. 24mm is plenty wide for most situations.
Have you considered doing the opposite of your first thought? I have the Nikon 24-70 and that lens is on my camera better than 80% of the time. It's my main walkabout lens and gives me the versatility of a very useful zoom range and a wide max aperture for good low light performance as well as good control of DOF.

If I were faced with the same choice you are, I would consider a 24-70 f/2.8 for the zoom option then look at an UWA prime, like a 14mm. I think you would get much more use out of a standard zoom and a wide prime than the other way around.

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